CLEAR Pricing Going Up For Delta SkyMiles Members

Last May CLEAR airport security raised its price from $179 to $189, however there was no change to Delta and United discount pricing.

CLEAR is a private, fee-based service that takes your biometrics and lets you identify yourself with your fingerprints or eye scan instead of showing an ID. At airports where they’re located you can then skip to the front of the security line – whether PreCheck or regular security.

Both Delta and United own a stake in CLEAR, and all you’ve needed was an account number with either to get a lower price and those with status paid less still. Now the airline discount is shrinking. An email went out to Delta SkyMiles members showing the change in pricing:

  • General members: $179. They used to get a $60 discount. That discount is now $10.

  • SkyMiles Amex cardmembers: $149. They used to get a $70 discount. That discount is now $40.

  • Silver, Gol and Platinum members: $149. They used to get a $70 discount. That discount is now $40.

  • Diamond members: Price remains $0.

With CLEAR’s $10 increase, American Express adjusted its statement credit benefit to compensate on all except the Green product. Changes in MileagePlus discounts are almost certain to track Delta changes.

You should think about both American Express and Delta discounts as merchant-funded offers. They needed to get CLEAR to scale, and have marketed to partner (and in Amex’s case, transitivie partner) customers. Eventually they’ve acquired the customers they’re going to reach and it no longer makes sense to do so at as deep a discount. Instead of going cold turkey and eliminating the discount, they’re gradually reducing it.

(HT: u/That-Establishment24 via Bill S.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve had Clear since it first became a complimentary benefit for Delta diamonds. With some exceptions — like Atlanta, which I do my best to avoid departing from, or Orlando, which is always a cluster — Clear, in my experience, is as fast as TSA Pre-Check and, in some cases, faster. I refuse to give Uncle Sam any additional money besides my yearly taxes.

  2. Same for united. Got this yesterday:

    We have recently updated our pricing for United MileagePlus members.
    If you are a:
    Premier® Silver, Gold or Platinum MileagePlus member, the price for your primary account will increase from $109 to $149.
    United U.S. Credit Cardmember, the price for your primary account will increase from $109 to $149.
    MileagePlus member, the price for your primary account will increase from $119 to $179.
    Premier 1K®, the price for your primary account will remain at $0.
    If your MileagePlus status changes before your renewal, you will be charged based on your status as of your renewal date.

  3. I’ve found CLEAR to be a life-saver at ORD and EWR with their CLEAR Plus Pre-Check lanes, which cut down TSA time significantly. Since I’ll probably end up losing my 1K status at the end of the year, I’m going to have a serious think about renewing CLEAR. My mind right now says that it would be worth forking over $149 to renew CLEAR, but that may change when December rolls around. Right now, it’s sitting in that middle range of “wonderful to have as a perk, but do I really need it?”

  4. @O’Hare Is My Second Home — I fly through ORD a decent amount, though it’s not my second home. I never find the regular TSA PreCheck line to take more than 5 minutes — usually much, much less. The last time I flew through ORD, I used CLEAR, but the regular PreCheck line was empty.

    What times of day have you found CLEAR to save time? Since you mention 1K status, I assume you’re in Terminal 1.

  5. Beachfan

    Is this a joke question? Amex never covered main plus one always covered $179 or $189. Amex is covering $189.

  6. @MSP – $179 and then $189 covered primary member plus a second person as long as the primary member signed up as a Delta SkyMiles or MileagePlus member.

  7. Right. Amex is still covering $189 the cost of ONE membership as promised. But Amex is not promising to cover 1+1. Only $189 for one membership. If people found a coupon that covers two people that doesn’t affect Amex or their terms. If the coupon/offer/discount no longer works sad day. Amex doesn’t have to increase coverage to make up for a coupon or offer or discount not working or being worth less. Amex is still covering the same $189 for one membership they promised. That’s why I asked if the question was serious.

  8. And you could not another another sentence with the United prices because….

    (Thank you Malte for your comments)

  9. If a pre-existing free Clear account (not plus – just the Covid19 health screener) is upgraded to plus, will it be charged at the Delta rate for Amex SkyMiles cardholders? All I’m seeing is the upgrade page with the first two months free offer with the $189 annual fee. If I go in and connect my Delta account, will it charge at the discounted price after the 2 free months? Will it charge at the newly increased fees? Any info? Thanks!

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